Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What Returns

                                   *sea glass from a San Francisco beach

When my brother died, unexpectedly, a little less than a year ago, our family went through a metamorphosis which led us down to the ocean.  No longer could we hold onto our dreams until tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow.  We felt the sudden desperate need to focus on the immediacy of today and with that, we decided to do something that experts in grief counseling would advise someone never to do.  We made the huge decision to rush one of our "when the girls leave home" dreams into reality.  We bought our beach home.  It felt like something that we had to do at the time and we are filled with gratitude by the fact that we were able to bring our dream into reality at a time when we desperately needed it.

So much has changed for us over the course of a year.  But with the sad, with the grieving, with the pain, came some very good things, as well.  And as I begin to emerge from the fog that a sudden shock will cover the lens of life with, some of the diversions which helped to bring me to today will remain with me into many tomorrows.  One of those diversions that became a form of meditation for me, is sea glass hunting.  I cannot begin to express the pleasure that I have gained from the hours that I have spent walking the beaches, over the past months, and collecting sea glass.  The tiny shards of colorful glass that the ocean transforms and then returns to the shoreline, allow me to fixate not only on what is lost, but also on what returns to us after the initial adjustment which occurs after a change.
When Mark and I took our four Angels up to San Francisco, last month, we found a beach that was covered in rocks and sea glass.  It was absolutely amazing!  When we treasure hunt down here in Southern California, the beautiful bits of sea glass are becoming more and more rare, but the father up north you travel, the more and more plentiful the remnants become.  The photos above picture some of the sea glass that I collected during our trip to San Francisco.  If you multiply that amount by six, you will get a better idea of how much glorious treasure our family unearthed.  We came home with pounds of this beautiful bounty, along with the special memories that we shared as a family on our treasure hunts.  Those wonderful memories will be something that we will be able to return to, over and over again.
                                   *seagulls in the sun, San Clemente, California

My four Angels have now taken an interest in sea glass hunting along with their dad and I.  I love that this is something that we will be able to share and enjoy together for many years to come.  Mark and I are planning another trip which will also involve scouring the beaches for treasures.  I know that time will bring along with it many, many changes but if we have something to which we can all return, the difficult times will be much more manageable.

As I was sitting here writing this, I could not help but wonder.  What are some of the things that you do in order to weather the changes of life?  What do you find yourself returning to?  I know many people turn to God or spirituality and that is huge and important, but what kinds of things do you do to distract yourself when life becomes too rough?


delighted heart said...

Gratitude. When my mom went to heaven 2 years ago I filled my heart with gratitude to the Lord for all the good times we had together. The more thankful I was the less the hurt. The hardest part was having to dispose of her stuff...things I just didn't have room to keep. She had lived a long good life and was ready to go home but she and I were really close and I so missed talking to her each day. When I started my blog I did a post about her and decided that night that my blogging would be my little talk with her each day! She was such an encourager and I feel like she has passed that on to me and this blogging/comment thing is a great avenue to touch lives with encouragement. I have met some wonderful people in the few weeks I've been doing this. And have had the best time! As all three of my kids graduated and left home...I basicly had to do the same thing. Be gratful for the time I had with them and then focus on what the future was unfolding. (College, marriage, babies.) When I find myself living too much in the past I find I miss out on the blessings God has planned for me that day! Not only the ones I'm to receive but the ones I'm supposed to give away! And I don't want to miss any of the blessings ..either kind! We are blessed to be a blessing! Give your life away by being a blessing to someone today. You have such a beautiful way with words...just by leaving comments for other blogs can bless others. You really blessed me with your comment about the Sandman post! I am so so sorry about your brother. A life cut short by a terrible accident is terrible. Please don't think that God did it. (A lot of people think that way. I was one of them until I got the truth.) Any way...I'm praying God's peace and comfort for you and your precious family and that as you draw close to Him you will find His everlasting love, mercy and grace. And as you delight your self in Him ...He will put new dreams in your hearts and then make them come to pass. (It sounds like that's already happening with the beach house and beach glass! Who knows He may have you start making things for others with the glass!)
Bless you dear one...sorry this got so long.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

When things are too rough first i vent... I have a place that I can write my thoughts all of them no censure... once that is done I have several outlets for my energies, first I clean obsessivly as if cleaning will remove the pain the anger the hurts. Then I read or drive and on really weird days I shop. while doing all of the above I pray.
soon something new comes into life and things change ... sometimes the changes are very dramatic others they are very subtle and happen before I realise it.
* things are very clean around here right now, and retail therapy yesterday was expensive but nothing friviolous just necessities :)
love n hugs

Ness said...

I dream that some day I will come to your coast and find me some sea glass. Then I will bring it home, place it in a pretty glass dish that was my mom's and sift through it with my hands, picking each piece up one by one and examine it as I examine the memories in my heart. I already have a place picked out on the table next to my bed. My favorite colors are shades of blue so I hope to be able to find blue seaglass. When things are bad as they often are lately, I go into my mind and wander the beach for sea glass.

Sabi said...

Hi Debra,

It's quite sad but you have to think lot of people have dreams but only few can achieve their dreams...either its sad or happy.. You are very lucky to achieve your dreams..I know somethimes things can go really tough and you have to hangaround..just think bad days will not always be with you...its quite tough to earse memories form your mind... but prayer will help a lot

God bless you

Catherine Holman said...

Your sea glass collection is fabulous! I've never seen sea glass on a beach, but I live in the Midwest and don't get to the beach very often. As you can probably guess, I find my escape in painting and reading.

Debbie said...

We really turn into our family and lean on each other and our faith.
You have such a wonderful writing style.

sparkled*life said...

First of all I loved the post! Whenever I get into hard times I try to go out and be a blessing to someone else. When you are going through things it is really easy to start feeling like you have got it worse than anyone. When you go out and start finding people that are really having hard times ie: loosing their home, infant just passed away, etc. This makes me take the focus off of me and turn it on to someone else. Once I start helping somebody else then it brings healing to me.



Claire said...

Unfortunately, aside from prayer, I have not found that one thing that I can "do" to get myself through. I'm a complete extrovert, so I say how I feel most of the time, which usually helps...except in recent times. Life has become so darn hard.

I love your sea glass. The beach is my favorite place in the world. I would live there if I could, for sure.

rivergardenstudio said...

What a beautiful post. I collect sea glass as well, but on the Oregon Coast. I know your beaches well though, as I grew up in Santa Monica...I have a hard time being calm when things get bad... Just being with my family helps me find my center. My art that is so much a part of me gets left aside and that can make me sad. But bad times get better... You have gorgeous colors here! thank you for all your comments! Roxanne

Jacque said...

Perhaps someday we will look up from the sand, smile at one another as we cross paths on a beach somewhere. People often approach me and ask what I am picking up, upon showing them they ask what for? I tell them for peace, just simply peace! Jacque

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